Hold on a sec ... *drinks more beer*
So...I'll just share with you my observations on my local union as a bare-minimum participant. Your mileage may vary, because obviously in some of the locals you other guys are in, journeymen are not all equal. In mine, a journeyman is a journeyman is a journeyman, none of this Animal Farm "but some animals are more equal than others" bullcrap. And I think that's where part of the problem comes in. It's not the same at every local union.
I did not go through the complete UA apprenticeship program. I did something like three and a half years of it, and then I was offered a job overseas, and I said, "See ya later". No regrets at all. Ten years later, I move back to my home city. I decide that I want to work as an HVAC mechanic there again after a few semesters at the city university, and the local offers to test me out as a journeyman because of all my experiences. Day long test on HVACR service work. I pass with flying colors. All HVACR stuff. No welding. No fittting. Just straight up service work.
So as it's explained to me, that's what the "divisional" -- for me -- means. I don't fit pipe. I don't weld. I'm certified strictly as a mechanical equipment services (HVACR) journeyman.
In my local, when we have meetings at whatever company we work for, we usually initial our job class beside our name on the roll. The overwhelming majority of the HVAC guys went through the apprentice program, and they put "BTJ" (Building Trades Journeyman) by their name. In addition to learning the HVAC trade, they had to learn to fit pipe and weld. For most of them, that doesn't mean crap. The only time they ever fit pipe or welded was at the apprentice school. There are a few that can weld like nobody's business, and they're the guys you need when you need to run a hot tap on a chilled water line. Most of them -- no. They waited to take their welding class until the last semester so they wouldn't be rusty on their break-out test, and that's the last time they welded.
I'm in the minority that puts "MESJ" (mechanical equipment services journeyman) by my name. I've heard that can be a source of snobbery in my local from the guys who get to put "BTJ' by their names, but I've never gotten that personally. Mainly because I usually end up as the guy in the service department that's doing other mechanics' callbacks. I may not be able to weld, but I can sure find what you missed on a service call, and I can be your buddy or burn you over it. So it's best not to be a snob to me.
So there you go. I don't do any construction, and I'm not an HVAC mechanic that doubles as a pipefitter or pipewelder. I just have the ability to figure out what's wrong with crap, so I'm a journeyman.
In my local most service guys are BTJ, the MES guys are typically former scabs on probation or filter changers, they make somewhere between 60 to 80% of BTJ pay and a lot less fringes.
Originally Posted by Antarctic Fox
My card says "Building Trades Journeyman Refrigeration Pipefitter". If that's not a UA made up title, I don't know what is. Are you using the acronym MES as Mechanical Equipment Serviceman? Or as Mechanical Equipment Service, being substituted for HVACR?
In your professional opinion, what should a UA HVACR Tech be under BT, MT, DT or something else? A little further something on the Locals, I'm in a Plumbing (Combo) Local. As HVACR, we're dead last of the trades being repped.
To the other guy:
Mechanical Equipment Service
Is this correct?
Here goes my 3 liner:
Can "Service", specifically HVACR Service honestly be Building Trades? A little off topic, but what would a Service Plumber be under?
My card reads "BTJ steamfitter", and to answer your question, at least in my local most service techs are capable of running pipe and unclogging toilets, we are the best rounded guys, plumbers-fitters cant do our jobs but we are more than qualify to do theirs, if any we should be pay more.
Originally Posted by MechanicallyInclined
Are you in a Plumbing Combo Local or a Pipefitters Local? I see alot of Pipefitter Local back east refer to themselves as Steamfitters. I think "Refrigeration Pipefitter" seems weird, imagine "Refrigeration Steamfitter"!
Same in our local. "Tradesmen" get paid significantly less and have fewer benefits. In essence, "tradesmen" are scabs hired off the street by the company. There's one company I can think of around here that hires that way. It's essentially "union in name only" -- hiring and paying a journeyman is the last thing they want to do.
Originally Posted by valdelocc
Well, as far as UA card "tittles" go, I think the only thing we can say conclusively from all the responses in this thread is that all these terms are applied differently from local to local.
I was issued one of these cards when I started. It means Division Vocation Journeyman --Mechanical Equipment Serviceman. I was promptly told by a more knowledgeable person in union matters after a couple of years doing Chiller/Process work that I was getting screwed, and that this designation meant that they didn't have to pay you scale. I hired in with 5 years chiller experience, so I didnt go through the program. The company used it as a "try it before you buy it" plan. I complained and got it changed to BTJ Pipefitter. A certain nationally known service organization (not Carrier, so guess who) hires people with these cards and sticks them on full maintenance contracts so they don't have to give them a raise throughout the length of the full maintenance contract. I have apprentices that are classified as MES who don't get a raise for 4 years. They have to change jobs and get reclassified as apprentices to get the BTJ card
Also I think it is funny how we as a union ( the UA) would like to expand and get more members to sign up, but then others in above posts refer to people as "Scabs" or "Union in name only." Maybe this is an up-north phenomenon, but if we are to thrive and grow as a union; we must shed the opinion that many have of us as rude and "overpaid and overpriced." Down here in the South, locals have to persuade and sell union membership. In other words, we have to attract members. There are no closed shops where union membership is mandatory. And most heavy commercial/industrial techs are dues paying members by choice. I don't consider myself a better human being than my non-union counterparts; but I do consider myself to be blessed to belong to the UA, and my Non-union counterparts are missing out on a good thing.
I agree with you on that. I don't see why Daikin-McQuay, Emcor, Hill-Phoenix, Hussmann, and Trane won't become Union across the board.